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THREATS AND RESPONSES: THE BORDERS; Progress Seen in Border Tests of ID System

Saturday, February 22, 2003

  • By: Jennifer Lee
  • Organization: New York Times

ABSTRACT - American immigration officials say they are moving rapidly to meet congressionally mandated deadline for sophisticated new identification system to be in use at its 100 most porous entry points over next year; system will use ID cards encrypted with digital photos, signatures, biographical information and fingerprints that have been issued by State Dept and Immigration and Naturalization Service by millions over last five years; until recently, INS has not had machines to read information on cards; this shortcoming came to light in Congressional hearings into Sept 11 terror attacks; 30 such machines are being tested at crossing points in Texas and California, and at three airports (M) Immigration officials say they are moving rapidly to meet a congressionally mandated deadline for a sophisticated new identification system to be in use at its 100 most porous entry points over the next year.

The system will use ID cards encrypted with digital photos, signatures, biographical information and fingerprints that have been issued by the State Department and the Immigration and Naturalization Service by the millions over the last five years. Until recently, the immigration service has not had the machines to read the information on the cards -- a shortcoming that came to light in Congressional hearings into the 2001 terror attacks. The machines cost $8,500 each.

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